Following today’s (Tuesday 23 March) announcement of further restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19, the Irish Marine Federation has called for marine industry staff to be classified as ‘essential workers’.
Taoiseach Leo Varakdar announced a slate of new measures on top of existing restrictions, which have been extended from this Sunday 29 March to Sunday 19 April.
These include limiting unnecessary travel, the cancellation of all sporting events and the shutting of ‘clubs’ — though it is not clear if yacht clubs and similar fall under this distinction.
Earlier today Bangor Marina announced its closure following severe lockdown restrictions confirmed by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and its expected all other marinas and boating facilities in Northern Ireland and Great Britain will follow suit.
Meanwhile, Irish Marine Federation chairman Paal Janson has contacted the ministers for transport, trade and the marine on behalf of marina and boatyard operators here “to ensure that our sector is not left out when any guidelines or legislation is drawn up to limit travel and when they are defining ‘essential workers’”.
Janson, who is also general manager of Dun Laoghaire Marina, said: “Many of us will have a requirement to maintain access for emergency services and State Agencies, as well as looking after our customers' boats and marina/boatyard facility.
“We do not have the option to work from home, so we should not be forced to shut our doors.
“Through our membership of ICOMIA (the International Council of Marine Industry Associations), I am in contact with other marina operators around Europe (and the world) and am keeping abreast of what other countries are imposing on their domestic industries.
“I would encourage our own membership to keep in contact with the group and discuss the plans and implementations that are being carried out to protect staff and customers.”